In medieval Islamic civilization, pederastic relations "were so readily accepted in upper-class circles that there was often little or no effort to conceal their existence." Ganymede rolling a hoop and bearing aloft a cockerel – a love gift from Zeus (in pursuit, on obverse of vase). Plato was an early critic of sexual intercourse in pederastic relationships, proposing that men's love of boys avoid all carnal expression and instead progress from admiration of the lover's specific virtues to love of virtue itself in abstract form.

He adds that in many societies, pederasty has been the main subject of the arts and the main source of tender and elevated emotions. Its practice dates from the Archaic period onwards in Ancient Greece, but Cretan ritual objects that reflect an already-formalised practice date to the late Minoan civilization, in around 1650 BC.

in Ancient Greece, pederasty was a relationship and bond, whether sexual or chaste, between an adolescent boy and an adult man outside of his immediate family.

At Rome, the punishment was burning at the stake since the time of Theodosius I (390).

Nonetheless, the practice continued to surface, giving rise to proverbs such as With wine and boys around, the monks have no need of the Devil to tempt them, an early Christian saying from the Middle East.

In the seduction scenes the man is standing, grasping the boy's chin with one hand and reaching to fondle his genitals with the other.

In the sexual scenes, the partners stand embracing face to face, the older of the two engaged in intercrural sex with the younger, who (usually but not always) does not show arousal.

Within the Baha'i faith, pederasty is the only mention of any type of homosexuality by Bahá'u'lláh.

"We shrink, for very shame, from treating of the subject of boys....

In French, however, "pédérastie" has been used as a synonym for homosexuality between adult males (see Histoire du mot pédérastie).

Historically, pederasty has existed as a variety of customs and practices within different cultures.

While most Greek men engaged in relations with both girls and boys, exceptions to the rule were known, some avoiding relations with women, and others rejecting relations with boys.